Master Anger before it Masters You


NOVEMBER 29, 2017

    A nger can be your ally if it is your servant; but if anger becomes your master, then it will become your enemy. Anger became the enemy of Cain.


          Cain was "very angry" because God rejected his offering, while accepting his brother's. God asked him to search his heart, "Why are you angry?" Psalm 4:4 says, "In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent." Cain refused to search his heart, and instead, he let anger become his master.


          God warned him, "Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it" (Gen 4:7). Being angry is not itself a sin; it is what anger leads you to do that can either be good or bad. Good, righteous anger is based on true morality. When you see injustice or the breaking of God's commandments, it is right to feel anger, but it must lead you to constructive actions, rather than destructive ones. Slavery was abolished because of righteous anger. Other evils have been curtailed or abolished because people felt angry enough to do something about it.


          On the other hand, sometimes, you can feel angry over something that is not "just." Cain did not have any just reason for being angry. He had done wrong, yet he was angry over the consequences of his wrong-doing.

 A couple had counseled with me about their marriage problems. The woman had married a man out of prison, and although many former prisoners have come to the Lord and reformed their lives, this husband had not. He stayed home, rather than work. He did not help with housework or child rearing. He left all that to his wife, including earning all the money. Instead of being grateful, he constantly chided his wife. He criticized her at every turn, often cursing her. She told me that she could put up with his laziness, but not his verbal abuse. The man promised to change, but didn't.


          Eventually she left him and moved out of town. He called me pleading with me to talk his wife into taking him back. He said he had no place to live. I met with him. I told him, "You need to make yourself attractive to your wife. First thing you need to do is get a job." The man became very angry with me for suggesting he needed to work. I couldn't believe the anger pouring forth from him to me. I realized that the woman had been living in a nightmare. The man had no justified reason for being angry. He was the one at fault in the marriage, and his anger was the main cause of his downfall. Anger was his enemy!


                              Three bad ways people deal with anger


          Other than the obvious outburst of anger, there are three bad ways that people deal with anger.


          1. Withdraw.

          Some people withdraw from people they are angry with. They might give the silent treatment if they are forced to live together. Others stop living or spending time with them. They might express anger by quitting church. They might stop attending...


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